Pattern Description: A chic and simple shift dress with minimal dart shaping. Perfect for any season, as the variations are endless. I chose to make Version 2.
Pattern Sizing: Cut pattern at a size 6 (standard store demo size that we make for Colette patterns.)
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, indeed!
Were the instructions easy to follow? Since I was making this as a trial pattern to determine if it is suitable to teach for our Beginning Series Class, I wanted to see if I could make the dress without looking at the directions. If it could be done easily and in a reasonable amount of time, then I would consider teaching it as a class. Only after completion did I look at the directions, and found that I only replaced a few things: staystitching the neckline (replaced with serging the edges of all pieces), sewing the bias tape onto the sleeve cuffs and then sewing the underarm seam (I sewed the seam first, and then the bias tape) and handstitching the bias tape down on the inside (I topstitched it down instead.)
Looking back at the directions, they are incredibly informative and complete, and anyone who is looking for a pattern with good visuals, tips, and definitions would be well of with this pattern (and most other Colette patterns for that matter.) As for suitability for a class, it will work just as well with a few of the time-saving methods that I used.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? All Colette patterns have great visual descriptions, and the Laurel is no different. I especially like the basic checklist at the beginning of the directions, which provides a good breakup of the overall process of building a dress. The only things I would add/change in the directions would be including a note on laying out the pattern pieces on directional fabric (which I used), since this is a pattern for Beginners and it may not be something realized until the dress is almost finished. Secondly, I would change the directions for the bias tape application on the sleeves and neckline to include how to finish with a machine rather than by hand, as I know many people may either despise hand sewing or not be as comfortable with it as they are on a machine.
Fabric Used: 100% mid-weight cotton. Dress is Anna Maria Horner's Twill Bouquet (Dowry line) and the contrast is Moda's Bella Solids color 266.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Used 1/2" seam allowances, contrasting fabric for bias tape and pockets, made the hem straight instead of slightly curved.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is the third Laurel project (V. 1&4 have been done by coworkers), so we obviously like it! It's a simple dress design with easy options for making it unique. I would recommend it to Intermediate-Beginning sewers and above.
Conclusion: The dress turned out great, and it was easy to put together. Very pleased, and we are planning on teaching the class in January 2014!